In January, we launched a Copyblogger Content Challenge mini course. It was designed to help you understand, build, and improve cornerstone content pages.
The response was immense: Almost 4,000 people signed up and in just a couple days the forum was bristling with people posting questions, comments, and replies. We were throwing back the jitter juice morning, noon, and night to stay on top of all the activity.
Now, one of the original reasons for launching this program was to teach the importance of cornerstone content pages.
And one of the most common questions that popped up on day two of this mini course was: what’s the difference between a cornerstone content page and a blog post?
Great question, and fortunately, it’s pretty easy to answer with a simple illustration. But we need to deal with another issue first.
Cornerstone content death match: page versus post
And that issue is: “Should cornerstone content be created as pages or posts? And does it matter?”
Yes, it matters, Mr. and Ms. Content Marketer! Let me explain.
Content management platforms, like WordPress or our handy more-power-less-hassle Rainmaker Platform, make publishing content on the web pretty darn easy. And they give you a lot of options.
One of those options is the opportunity to create either pages or posts. This is what it looks like inside the Rainmaker Platform:
As you can see, publishing a page or post is pretty straightforward. Just choose “New” in either case, and start writing.
Conventional advice says that your About, Contact, and Portfolio content should be created as pages. And conventional advice also says that blog posts should be created as posts.
So far so good? Okay, good.
2 reasons why your cornerstone content should be a page instead of a post
But which one should you choose when creating cornerstone content — a page or post?
The answer is: you should choose a page.
But why can’t you publish cornerstone content as posts?
As Mary Jaksch, Editor-in-Chief of Write to Done, pointed out in one of our Content Challenge discussions: there is no SEO advantage of one option over the other.
Which is true.
However, there are two important reasons why your cornerstone content should be a page instead of a post:
- Pages are not part of the blog stream. They are static and will never get pushed down a stream when you publish new blog posts — making them difficult to find. Instead, you can put pages on display in your sidebar, navigation menu, or both.
- Pages do not have dates. Because cornerstone content is typically evergreen (always essential), it should appear timeless. Blog posts typically display the date they were published and the content may become outdated over time.
In other words, cornerstone pages are a convenient, simple way to organize your content. Pages are static, essential content, while posts are fluid and fugacious.
By the way, here’s a headshot of Jerome Vaporlove, my black pound cat, for anyone who knows what fugacious means.
So now that we have that squared away, let’s visit a quick definition of cornerstone content before moving on:
Cornerstone content is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which your content marketing is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.
A cornerstone content page directs visitors to other articles on your website via links. Those other articles are typically blog posts. They support a general topic you write about (the category) and dive into specifics (based on keyword phrases) about the topic.
A cornerstone content page, illustrated
Think of the category term as the hub, and the keyword phrases as the spokes that radiate around the hub. The cornerstone content page would be the category in the hub, and the blog posts would be built around the keyword phrases.
For example, if “Copywriting” is a category, then keywords phrases might be:
- What is copywriting?
- Difference between copywriting and content marketing
- Copywriting training
- And so on.
Here’s the illustration I promised:
The middle part is the cornerstone content page, and blog posts radiate around it. Like a wheel. In the illustration above, there are 14 spokes. The number of spokes you will have depends upon the content you have on your website.
Of course, to make our Legal department happy, I have to point out that this wheel is not meant to be ridden in any way whatsoever. Or, as Legal might say, “This plan (i) evidence the purpose(s) agreed upon the Warrant certificates evidencing an election made against us, that such restrictions …”
Er, never mind.
In addition, some people create the cornerstone content page first and then write the supporting blog posts second. Others write all of the articles first, and then reference them in a cornerstone content page afterward.
Neither approach is better than the other — it’s your choice, depending on what works best for you. What’s important is that the cornerstone content page is a page, not a post.
Spot-on example of a cornerstone content page
One way to use cornerstone pages is to make them a “resource page” that contains links to other content on your website.
Pamela Wilson’s site, Big Brand System, has a simple cornerstone content page about branding with color.
Pamela shares a little bit of content, a resource, and then links to blog posts she’s written on the topic.
Here’s the thing: if you use your cornerstone content page as a “holding place” for other content, you can still write about the topic frequently in your blog posts — just always approach the topic from a slightly different angle.
At the bottom of the page, Pamela has a call to action (which is important!) to a product she offers that helps people pick their colors.
Note that the call to action could have been a prompt to sign up for an email list instead. You just need to direct visitors to the action you want them to take.
Your chance to chime in
So, what do you think?
Are we clear about the difference between a cornerstone content page and a blog post? Does that wheel illustration simplify things? Do you understand why cornerstone content should be a page and not a post?
And does all this talk of cornerstone content pages make you zealous to get out there and start publishing those pages?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
For more information about cornerstone content, be sure to check out these other resources: